Psych Congress
Psych Congress
October 04, 2019
6 min watch

Expert discusses MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD

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SAN DIEGO — Rick Doblin, PhD, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), discussed the potential of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in a video interview.

Based on positive data from phase 2 trials, FDA-regulated phase 3 clinical trials of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD are currently underway, Doblin said.

“What I would like people to really understand is that MDMA itself is not the treatment. MDMA facilitates psychotherapy, so it’s really psychotherapy that does the healing and the MDMA facilitates the psychotherapy,” he explained. “The MDMA reduces activity in the amygdala where we process fear yet increases activity in the prefrontal cortex where we think more logically and increases connectivity between the amygdala and the hippocampus. We’re able to help people process that and move those memories into long-term storage.”

FDA has granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD and Doblin anticipates it will be approved by 2021. Doblin is also hopeful that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy may be effective for other indications, like depression, social anxiety in autistic adults and eating disorders.

“It’s a versatile tool that can be used in any number of different ways and we’re very excited to let clinicians know about what’s possibly coming down the road in the next several years,” he said.

Disclosure: Doblin reports no relevant financial disclosures.